Updated: Sep 14, 2020
By: Matt Lee
As you begin to construct your home, it may seem overwhelming to make a clear decision about which building materials are the best fit. Listed below are several custom construction tips that will help you reduce maintenance and save money!
ICF stands for insulated concrete forms. It is a tough, energy-efficient and extremely dependable way to build new homes from the ground up. The process involves stacking interlocking blacks — almost like Lego bricks — to form the shape and structure of a house. Concrete is then poured inside the forms to create a solid, impenetrable wall. As a result, any home builder that is looking to reduce energy costs should consider utilizing this construction process. Insulated concrete forms are pre-built to fit exactly together, and they come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and angles. Because they are filled with a concrete mixture, they drastically reduce air infiltration and prevent the loss of heat. Many people interested in creating a net zero building have looked to ICF construction as a jumping-off point. Sustainable construction is becoming increasingly important on new homeowners’ wishlists. If you want to install solar or another form of renewable energy into your home’s electrical network, an ICF foundation will ensure that your HVAC system will run as efficiently as possible. Plus, if you use high-quality siding and roofing materials, you can avoid maintenance down the road that would otherwise be necessary.
Below-grade insulation products should be carefully considered in case you plan on building underground. In below-grade areas like basements or cellars, improper insulation can result in water damage, mold, mildew, and poor airflow. Often, pipes can even freeze up. As a result, it is important to choose the best insulation in order to improve long-term energy-efficiency and avoid costly maintenance.
The way that basements are constructed often leads to a number of unexpected issues for many builders. Insulation plays a key role in avoiding these difficulties. During construction, you should consider using continuous insulation as this will prevent both thermal bridging and air/moisture gaps.
Spray Foam Insulation
According to a number of experts, spray foam insulation is one of the top forms of insulation that will both save you money and protect your home. As it is one of the most powerful insulators, it will create a tight seal in every section of your house that could have been left exposed. Due to this, spray foam insulation offers builders the chance to enjoy energy savings and reduce their overall energy costs. The air-tight seal provided by spray foam insulation can be extremely beneficial in preventing energy costs from skyrocketing during sweltering summers and freezing winters.
Solar shingles are unique in that they combine a number of technologies to offer homebuilders with a one-of-a-kind, cost-effective material. As it combines both the durability of shingles along with the energy provided from solar panels, solar shingles have quickly emerged as one of the most-effective technologies for preventing roof maintenance along with increasing overall energy savings. In fact, solar shingles can be used either in specific portions of your roof or as the primary material. It is most cost-effective to include solar shingles when you first build a house, so any builder should consider this installation while in the planning stages.
Fiber Cement Siding
Fiber cement siding is another durable material that offers a number of cost-cutting benefits. This form of siding has a long lifespan, and the material is extremely heat resistant. While it may not be the cheapest option, fiber cement siding is competitively priced to similar sustainable materials, and the benefits it lends will far outweigh any initial costs. Fiber cement is a composite material made from cement and cellulose fibers. It has a wide variety of uses from soffits and shingles to fiber cement beadbord. As you build a new home, fiber cement is cost-effective and easy to maintain. Plus, it will add a modern and clean look to the overall style of your home.
Matt Lee is the owner of the Innovative Construction and Building Materials blog and a content writer for the building materials industry. He is focused on helping fellow homeowners, contractors, and architects discover materials and methods of construction that save money, improve energy efficiency, and increase property value.